Case Assortments Of The 80s

Recently in a comment, The Amazing A-Man mentioned a thing about 80s Tiger Force case allotments. Now this isn’t groundbreaking news, but there were trade magazines back in the 80s that actually gave a breakdown for that kind of stuff!




Ever wonder why Major Bludd, Tripwire and Torpedo all showed up at the same time, late in the 83 comic run? There figures all came out in the second assortment! The two assortments were of 10 figures each, but came in cases of 48, which indicates some figures were short packed. Who were the short packed ones? I dunno, it’d be neat to know.




It’s easy to see why the new characters were separated the way they were. Roadblock, Baroness, Firefly, and Storm Shadow all seem more in line with the 83 designs, than the figures in the second assortment. The new figures in the second assortment, aside from Recondo, also share the distinction of all having rubberized accessories. I’d wager a guess that Duke is in the first assortment, and Rip Cord is in the second. Again they are cases of 48, but this time it’s divided by 16 figures. So it was likely 3 per case.

Zartan was obviously a well publicized figure, too. He gets his own page, and was sold at 24 per case. So despite being a vehicle driver, he should probably be amongst the most common 1984 figures. Though it would be interesting to see how long he was being produced, I wouldn’t be surprised if he wasn’t produced for long for the 1985 production year.

Also, it’s interesting that there was slight changes between the 83 and 84 assortments, regarding already released figures, as Doc and Major Bludd were swapped! Destro was probably moved over just to balance things out.

Tiger Force:


This is the original prototype Tiger Force team, so there might’ve been some funny business with case breakdown, but originally it was going to be 6 single figures (vs. 7 of the actual release!), and still a 48 figure case. Originally it would’ve been 8 of each figure, which seems kind of insane, but I guess since Tiger Force was only available for 1 year, it would’ve probably done up in a production run that would’ve been more than 50% of a regular 2 year release window. Also the 87 and 88 runs were probably produced in high volume, just based on sales expectations from prior years like 85-86.

Also the Rip Cord, Firefly and Recondo are nice looking figures! I wonder if the picture used on Yo Joe! is still that really grainy jpeg where everything looks brown!


Slaughter’s Marauders:


The figures for Slaughter’s Marauders were available in a case of 24. Which probably shows how poorly the line had did in 1987 and 1988 vs. expectations. Or perhaps the Brazilian production of the figures couldn’t have been done in the numbers Hong Kong was doing. I’d say it was probably in the middle, because everyone has a story about seeing Crystal Ball somewhere in the 1990s.


I’m sure there’s more information, as well as more examples of these for other years and mainline stuff, around somewhere, I only kept the images that had any real interest to me. However one of the issues with G.I. Joe fandom, is you’ve got all these people claiming they’re writing articles or books, so this kind of information isn’t disseminated, yet these books and articles haven’t and will never be written.


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6 Responses to Case Assortments Of The 80s

  1. A-Man says:

    It was actually 48 figures per case, wow. When stores had STOCK, because kids wanted toys. Current Star Wars vintage collection is 8 figures and they never arrive at brick and mortar stores.

    1986 had 3 assortments, 12 figures each. BF 2000 two-packs were cases of 48…that’s why there’s a lot of them out there despite only shipping for one year (who knows how many domestic single cards there were?)

    I think it’s likely that the new year’s figures shipped in greater numbers than the carry forwards. There’s no figure case breakdowns by numbers, but IIRC the assortments of vehicles that shared cases, like the Cobra small items, a year’s new items are double or more that of the reissues from prior years. First example I find is a 1988 Hasbro catalog with 36 Battle Barges and 12 Cobra Jet Packs. (That’s a lot of Battle Barges.) Jet Packs probably shipped 2 or 3 to 1 the previous year with the Hydro Sled. 1986 lists 24 hyrdo sleds to 12 flight pods. The reason BLUE SNAKES are rare? The were 4 per case packed with 24 Flight Pods and 8 CLAWs according to the 1985 Hasbro catalog. (Most other/larger vehicles shipped in cases by themselves, even if they were the same price point.)

    I suspect Recondo was released with the Tiger Fly because both molds were in Brazil at the time.

    • That’s good information! Especially about the 1986 series being 3 waves. Seeing these kind of case numbers is interesting, because it’s so much higher than the usual 8-12 of the modern day, but also kind of explains how those magical walls of action figures in the 80s actually existed!

      I think with the 1983 Assortments, it’s hard to get a read on who would’ve been short packed, since even the 1982 characters were new figures, with the Swivel Arm Battle Grip.

      36 Battle Barges per case is hilarious, it’s not all that surprising things slowed down as the 80s progressed.

  2. Mike T. says:

    This is great info. I distinctly remember no one having Torpedo or Tripwire until very late in the summer of 1983. Then, they were everywhere. (We all had mail away Bludds and didn’t care about him.)

    If I had an army builder for every time someone was going to write an article or a book about Joe, I’d beat the old KrimsynSith displays. But, if you dare to actually write something yourself, you’ll get deluded with a bunch of self righteous collectors who bitch about you not doing it the right way. Or, killing their book. Or demanding you take down photos that were on the public internet.

    There’s so much info out there. But, with YoJoe being a dead resource, there’s no else to take it up without doing a TON of work to get the basic archives together that are necessary for an audience. Hell, even Hisstank couldn’t do it and they had a shit ton of resources at one time.

    • Glad you liked it! The 1984 case assortment, actually reminded me of your story about finding Firefly, Roadblock and Baroness at the same time, and you naturally taking Firefly!

      The thing about these oft claimed articles and books, is historically none of it has ever happened. The only books ever produced have been either figure guide/price guides, or compilations of packaging art.

      The amount of info out there on G.I. Joe is staggering, but as you stated would require a TON of work to even get an audience. Remember The Joe Index or whatever it was?. The fact HISS Tank wasn’t able to monopolize the G.I. Joe internet was both surprising, and a confirmation of how secretive the fandom can be!

  3. Pingback: Perhaps There Is No Moral, Just A Bunch Of Stuff Happened | Attica Gazette

  4. Pingback: 1984 Roadblock | Attica Gazette

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